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Going Back To The Roots

April 7, 2010

On Monday, a dear friend of mine left for Mozambique to visit her dad and to explore her roots. I am thinking of her often, hope that she is fine and enjoys the time in the bush. Literally. Having seen the pictures of her last (first) visit, I am sure she does…

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On Tuesday, I left for the Czech Republic. My beloved late grandpa was born in a city called Reichenberg (now Liberec) almost 90 years ago and that is where I am right now. I am here for business and I am incredibly thankful to be able to explore my grandpa’s city a little bit. I managed to have a few hours of free time and spent the whole afternoon strolling around the city, focusing on the old houses and streets, ignoring everything new, imagining that I am looking at facades my grandpa has once seen and walking on ground my grandpa once walked on when he was a child. I stood in the middle of the market place, looked up in the clear blue sky and tears were in my eyes. I felt so close to him.

(town hall in Liberec)

(street lamp in Liberec)

When my grandpa spent his childhood here, the city was part of Germany. Little did he know, that when he would return after he fought in the 2nd World War and from captivity as a prisoner of war in Russia, that his city would not be German territory anymore. While he was gone, his little sister and parents were sent/disported to the part of Germany, where my dad lives now. The Czechs took over Reichenberg and ever since then it has been part of the Czechoslovakia (today two countries: Czech Republic and Slovakia). I have been in Prague once when I was 18 years old, but had never seen my grandpa’s birthplace before. I actually know that the house he was born in and lived in is still there. My dad’s aunt – my grandpa’s sister – had seen it again on a visit a few years ago. Unfortunately, I do not have the time to look for it since it is outside of the city. Nevertheless, I am thankful to be here on my grandpa’s stomping grounds. He was an amazing man, who loved me with every piece of his heart. I miss him so so much. Especially today. He passed away 12 years ago, but I can remember his face like it was yesterday. I know, that he knows, that I am here right now and wish he was here with me, not only in my heart.

Opa, ich hab Dich sehr lieb! Dein Goldstück

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